4 SEPTEMBER 1942, Page 13

SIR,—As I agree more nearly with Mr. Carl Heath and

the Rev. G. E. Hickman Johnson than with Dr. Lofthouse and others in their estimate of Mahatma Gandhi, may I explain why I cannot support the appeal to the Government of India suggested by Mr. Carl Heath and endorsed by Mr. Hickman Johnson?

It is precisely because I recognise in Mr. Gandhi a leader of unusual spiritual and moral greatness that I am convinced the move to end the Present impasse in India should come from him. Congress has missed the finest moral opportunity ever presented to a powerful political party, and for this failure Mr. Gandhi is largely responsible. A spiritual leader such as Mr. Gandhi undoubtedly is should have the moral courage to admit and rectify his mistakes. We who claim to be Mr. Gandhi's friends and admirers should appeal to him to reverse his present policy. If he cannot lead India to throw in her lot with those who are fighting for her freedom and independence, at least let him stand aside instead of aiding

and abetting the Axis Powers as he and Congress are now doing. I would go further. If the arrest of Mr. Gandhi be a tactical error on the

part of the Government of India, a true spiritual leader who is committed to Satyagraha will not make capital cut of the tactical errors of opponents whom he professes to love. The greater the alleged responsibility of the Governments of India and Great Britain for the existing situation in India, the more does it become Mr. Gandhi to take the initiative in reconciliation by some act of magnanimity and generosity, and if need be by some act of humility and self-effacement. The genuine saint in politics will be eager to rectify his opponents' mistakes as well as his own.

The one man who can transform the situation in India is Mr. Gandhi. When his friends and admirers appeal to the Government of India to make a further approach to Mr. Gandhi they show that they are im- pressed by his moral prestige and are concerned to maintain his reputa- tion. They do not show any appreciation of true moral greatness. From a saint in politics we must expect great things. I believe that Mr. Gandhi is great enough to realise that India's royal road to freedom lies in postponing the satisfaction of her own claims and in ranging herself unconditionally on the side of all oppressed and tortured peoples.— Yours, &c., H. G. WOOD. Lane End, Bournville, Birmingham.